They tumbled. Great balls of fire slowly drifting, smoke trailing behind them, flames billowing at an angle. Orange deepening into black, hard to tell where flames ended and smoke began. Like big black balls of cotton that had been thrust into a stunning sunset to soak up the color and then placed in a leaning stack one upon the other. Watching them fall was cathartic. Relaxing. Other aircars managed the opposite, their thrusters an ice blue streak as they ascended. A ladder of divine ascent playing dramatically outside of the window. Most of them just floated along, neither falling nor rising. Passing each other in opposite directions. Would the ones going left eventually join those falling? Were the ones going right destined to rise?

I gazed out of the window through the city, through the world, watching. Contentedly thinking about what she’d said. She watched me consider her words. Her thumb gently stroked my forefinger, the rings covering her fingers reflecting light and clinking softly. Our food sat between us forgotten, unable to add anything meaningful to our satisfaction.

The city spread above and below us. I’d never yet seen the top. I hadn’t seen the surface in so long it might as well have been never. Neither were visible, just rows of buildings and windows stretching out of sight above and below us. The aircars drifting lazily between it all, like bumblebees, reflecting our peaceful mood.

Some part of my brain, buried deep, assured me that way down below, below the surface, were the deeps. Waiting hangrily in the darkness. I dismissed the thought as irrelevant to the wonderful night I was having. Or maybe it was morning? Noon? Irrelevant. The soft pink glow that pervaded everything never changed anyways, except to become lighter if higher you ascended.

“Quite the sight huh?” A voice invaded our contemplation.

Continue reading “8”

The Marxist Failure to Eradicate the Church

This essay was written for a Diaconate course in the OCA. You can read the original with footnotes and appendices here (or download/print), or read a shorter version formatted for the web below.

Continue reading “The Marxist Failure to Eradicate the Church”

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Service Book

For the past year I have spent countless hours laboring over a service book for a small OCA parish in Crawfordsville IN. Here it is:

Traditionally church service books contain no music and only some of what the priest/deacons say. I set out to, and did, create a service book that contain 100% of the words/notes which are spoken/sung each Sunday, as well as many of the rotational hymns frequently sung, laid out in a manner that is easy to follow. This allows for full participation from every congregant with a desire to do so.

This book can also be used to lead the congregational singing/responses with very little prep by any long-standing member of the parish who can read music. Even if they have never done so before.

Most of the music contained in this book was engraved by myself using MuseScore 3.

This book should be appropriate for use in any parish in the Orthodox Church. If you are interested in using it, I would love to hear from you!

In the beginning

This is a paper I wrote as a requirement for a Diaconate training course within the OCA (Orthodox Church in America) under Fr. Silviu Buntu. The topic of the course was traditional Orthodox interpretation of Scripture.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The goal of this paper will be to illustrate traditional interpretation of Scripture as practiced by the Jews and early Christians and continued primarily in the Eastern Church.

In the West there is a recent movement to treat the scriptures as a piece of literature. Dead words on a dead page to be dissected and picked apart, its organs harvested and distilled, at best down to medicine or tools, and at worst mere entertainment.

Contrast this with historical understanding and practices, where Scripture is alive and timeless.

The fundamental lens through which its authors and early audiences looked at scripture is the bifocal lens of:

  1. God is speaking to and about you.
  2. When God speaks, it is for your edification (it is useful to you).
Continue reading “In the beginning”


Written for a Halloween Writing Contest. Genre is “Urban Fantasy”. It’s sort of like Dresden Files, Peter Pan, and Midsummer Night’s Dream had a baby, with Jordan Peterson playing midwife. It is Chapter 1 of a full length novel I’m “working on”.

Halloween night. The perfect time for a summoning. Or ordering bags of your favorite candy from Amazon and hoping your house get’s TP’d (which, this year amounts to an act of charitable giving).

It’s time to get some answers, and maybe start to fix whatever the heck (waves hand in circular motion) “all this is”.

Summoning is pretty simple. Make a circle on the ground (chalk is easiest). Set the mood with a few or as many of the items that remind you of your intent as you can. Invest it with a drop of blood. Concentrate really hard on who or what you want to appear there. Say their Name three times and pull really hard like you’re Luke Skywalker trying to get the light saber out of the ice and then hope to God you have the mental fortitude to maintain concentration to keep the being physically bound within the circle. Bigger the being, stronger the circle needs to be; it’s more art and psychology than science (actually its specifically not science. It’s magic). Whatever you do, don’t break the circle.

“Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell.”

Snap, crackle, pop, and there she is. Six inches of blazing light zipping around like a banshee venting her fury (yeah, being summoned always pisses them off) with pyrotechnics that make Michael Bay look like an amateur. So beautiful–Stay focused! Just because she can’t get to you physically doesn’t mean she isn’t already in your head.

She freezes in mid-air, spinning around to face me, balanced on one leg, toes pointed to rest delicately on what looks like an illuminated manuscript painting of the sun floating flatly a foot above the ground. Smile spreading mischievously across her face.

“Good evening Andrew.” 

I’d stumbled across this particular pixie some years ago. Kids, don’t try this at home, but you can go fishing for Fae and hope that whatever you happen to call doesn’t completely outclass you and eat your brain. I’d realized that there was zero chance Walt Disney was making it all up, and was probably “in the know” like the Brothers Grimm before him. So I picked a being he portrayed as powerful, but also mostly benign, and hoped he wasn’t too far off. I was in no way disappointed.

“Good evening Tink.”

She nods her head demurely, and I relax a little now that her initial anger at being summoned has faded and we are no longer fighting a battle of wills. She begins to zip more calmly around the circle examining the focus items I have set around the edges just outside the chalk lines. As she nears them the candles change hue slightly (neat trick!) and the flame grows a little. If I cared to, I could have gazed into the flame and caught glimpses of things

She zips from the little pile of miniature pumpkins, across to the giant Russian sunflower head, and then over to a painting of Peter Pan, at which she oddly turns an angry bright red all over, stomps her foot and sticks out her tongue. The nearby candles flare greatly and I momentarily catch a glimpse of a child in a woman’s arms in one and a man gazing sternly at them from another, before she glances at me, a hint of a veiled pleading panicked look flashing on her face before she turns away to survey the far side of the circle.

“What is it you require?” She asks, and then zips off across to a beloved stuffed koala that used to keep me company in my crib as a child. “Oooh!” She squeals in delight a little shower of dust sprinkling out (there’s the stuff!) while she dances and spins, exclaiming, “But you would have made such a lost boy!” And as quickly as the exclamation had come it was gone again and now she’s standing gazing longingly at a little pile of dark chocolate salted caramels.

Faeries are unpredictable and have the attention span of a gnat. Which is odd, since they’re immortal… But I guess when something with a lifespan that would measure in comparative eye blinks wants to talk to you, it’s probably hard to pay them much mind at all, especially given all the billion year old relationships you have to maintain. It was honestly shocking she even remembered my name from one summoning to the next, but maybe it had something to do with our bargain.

“Pixie dust.” I hold up a nearly empty leather bag and give it a little shake to indicate my poverty. Happy thoughts and a little magic dust and you can fly. Tink here is my source.

She rolls her eyes, “Surely that’s not all.”

“Pay up Tink! We have a deal.”

She gives me an unamused deadpan glare and begins to hop, fairy dust showering down in a little ring all around her. “There. Good?”

“Actually, one more thing”

“As expected” She smiles guilelessly, “what else?”

Gulp. Those teeth and dimples. I feel bad bringing it up, but still, I’ve had enough! “What is going on!?” I yell at her, a little more angrily than I had intended. Actually, I hadn’t intended to yell at all. But seriously! What is going on?

Continue reading “Titania”

Halloween Writing Contest Entry – First Draft

This is the first draft of Titania, which I wrote for a halloween writing contest entry. I’m leaving it here as an example of how much change a story (can) go through from early to later revisions.

Halloween. Perfect for a summoning. Or ordering bags of your favorite candy from Amazon and hoping your house get’s TP’d (which, this year amounts to an act of charitable giving).

It’s time to get some answers, and maybe start to fix whatever the hell (waves hand in circular motion) “all this is”.

Continue reading “Halloween Writing Contest Entry – First Draft”

Notes to a Friend, or “The Godwork Machine”

Note: My recreational fiction writing was slammed into an extended pause following my coming down with the worst cold I’ve ever had (lasted basically the month of March 2020. Antibody tests indicate it was not COVID, but that is almost beyond belief for me). In the meantime, I have written a lot, but have not yet come back to my fiction. The following is one of the things I wrote during this time.

My dear friend Chris Corwin wrote a journal entry he created in response to a daily journaling prompt and kindly shared it with me today.

The prompt was “do you believe in God”.

I’m going to comment on some specific portions here, after summarizing it.

Continue reading “Notes to a Friend, or “The Godwork Machine””


This is Part 4 of the longer story “Core“. Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

I gritted my teeth, took a deep breath, and turned around. There were eight other people on the elevator with me. A black gentlemen in a light blue blazer, narrow brimmed had, and dark sunglasses stood relaxed nearby clutching a briefcase and umbrella. A plump woman in a black dress covered with tiny white flowers, a necklace of fat round pearls strung round her neck. A youngish west-coast professional looking man in chinos and a polo. An old Chinese lady with a huge canvas hand-bag. None of them looked out the window, or gave any indication of concern or really any inclination to do anything but stand and wait what might come. Most of them politely ignored the existence of everyone else.

Two teenaged Japanese girls glanced timidly around periodically, obviously texting each other while they stood shoulder to co-ordinated-to-complement-outfitted shoulder.

I had to get off. Why was everyone standing around so placidly while we zoomed down? Especially so far! We just fell below the surface!

I looked around frantically for the control console or, failing to find that, for the floor indicators. I gripped the core tightly and clutched it protectively to my chest. I stepped forward to approach the doors of the inner, micro, elevator for a closer look.

Suddenly they opened.

Continue reading “Mop”


This is Part 3 of the longer story “Core“. Here are Part 1, and Part 2.

I exploded out into the concourse, pounded across the grey tile and into the bazaar. Legs churning, I ran past and stumbled into tables placed seemingly at random and strewn with cheap junk.

I looked down at the core in my hand. It was like some sort of Bic pen with a fat red core and an eye-dropper for a tip. What the heck? I had no idea what this thing was, but whatever was in it came out of my head. Some part of me screamed with greed and defiance, demanding that I do everything I could to protect it.

I ran on. If I could find an elevator or an escalator or anything I might be able to get away.

“Stop! Come back!” Pocket Square called after me.

Continue reading “Switch”


This is Part 2 of the longer story “Core“. See here for Part 1.

I was very much taken aback. Most of his fingers were normal looking, but several were extremely misshapen and stubby and small. I looked up at his face and saw no indication that he thought there was anything particularly strange or different about his hand. My shock was reflected on the maiden’s face, her eyes wide. She was suddenly sitting very straight, looking at his hand and trying not to gape.

I glanced at Pocket Square. He seemed to have leaned forward ever so slightly, his posture intensely expectant. A wolf about to pounce.

I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry. Hesitantly I put my own elbow on the table and opened my hand. I looked up at Mo-hawk’s face again, a bit helplessly. There was no obvious way to clasp his hand and I wasn’t sure where to begin. He seemed completely unconcerned, and in fact wasn’t even looking at my hand.

Continue reading “Core”